The Glass Castle

Describe the episode between Brian and Jeanette with the science experiment in the shack. What does this tell us about the children? What does it tell us about the parents?


Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 3
Add Yours

Chapter or part please?

Part II

Brian and Jeannette decided that refuse found in the dump would make for excellent supplies to perform science experiments. They collected various items and decided to experiment with flammability. Their experiment resulted in the children burning down their laboratory (a shed). Jeannette escaped on her own, but her father had to kick down the wall to extricate Brian.

Toxic and hazardous wastes were stored in another corner of the dump, where you could find old batteries, oil drums, paint cans, and bottles with skulls and crossbones. Brian and I decided some of this stuff would make for a neat scientific experiment, so we filled up a couple of boxes with different bottles and jars and took them to an abandoned shed we named our laboratory. At first we mixed things together, hoping they would explode, but nothing happened, so I decided we should conduct an experiment to see if any of the stuff was flammable.

The next day after school we came back to the laboratory with a box of Dad's matches. We unscrewed the lids of some of the jars, and I dropped in matches, but still nothing happened. So we mixed up a batch of what Brian called nuclear fuel, pouring different liquids into a can. When I tossed in the match, a cone of flame shot up with a whoosh like a jet afterburner.

Brian and I were knocked to our feet. When we stood up, one of the walls was on fire. I yelled to Brian that we had to get out of there, but he was throwing sand at the fire, saying that we had to put it out or we'd get in trouble. The flames were spreading toward the door, eating up that dry old wood in no time. I kicked out a board in the back wall and squeezed through. When Brian didn't follow, I ran up the street calling for help. I saw Dad walking home from work. We ran back to the shack. Dad kicked in more of the wall and pulled Brian out coughing.


The Glass Castle